If anyone raises a finger towards
Hindus then I swear on the Gita that I will cut that hand, says Varun
Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh): The strident communal overtones of the campaign
being run by Varun Gandhi has left his own party (BJP) workers shocked.
The 29-year-old son of Maneka and late Sanjay Gandhi is contesting his
maiden Lok Sabha election from Pilibhit constituency. Maneka Gandhi gave up
the seat to ensure his easy entry into the Lok Sabha.
On Sunday Varun was issued a notice by the district authorities in Pilibhit.
What came as a shocker is his staunchly pro-Hindu and rabid anti-Muslim
vitriolic that his opponents and supporters say could trigger a communal
From taking up issues like the ban on cow slaughter to asking a Sikh leader
to leave a Hindu meeting, Varun has been ruffling feathers everywhere.
Though just one offensive remark captured by a TV channel drew the attention
of the local authorities, the scion of the estranged Gandhi family has been
busy making such statements all over Pilibhit.
While "Jai Shri Ram" is his battle-cry at all roadside meetings or
assemblies, some of the other slogans being used are "Gau hatya rukwana hai,
Varun Gandhi ko jitana hai" (Cow slaughter must stop, Varun Gandhi must win)
and "Varun nahin yeh aandhi hai, doosra Sanjay Gandhi hai (Varun Gandhi is
like a storm, he is another Sanjay Gandhi)".
Varun has already addressed three 'Hindu sammellans'. While the district
administration has taken cognizance of his utterances at a meet in Barkhera
on March 8, those at earlier meetings in Dalchand on March 6 and at Lalori
Khera locality on February 22 have almost gone unnoticed.
On March 6, he said at the Dalchand meeting - "Agar kissi galat tatv ke
aadmi ne, kisi Hindu pe haath uthaya ya hinduon ke upar yeh samajh key ki
yeh kamzor hain, unke peeche koi nahi hai... hinduon ke upar haath uthaya,
mein geeta ki kasam khake kehta hoon ki mein uss haath ko kaat daaloonga.
(If somebody lifts a hand against Hindus, or thinks they are weak, there is
nobody behind them, then I swear on the (Bhagvad) Gita that I will cut off
It has left even leaders who are working for his victory flabbergasted.
"I am a BJP activist and a Hindu too. But I am not in favour of launching a
communally charged campaign. If Varun Gandhi persists with such style of
campaigning, I would be compelled to keep myself away from it," a popular
BJP leader in Puranpur, Naresh Verma told IANS.
"Varun is going out of hand. If he is not restrained, this election could
end in a bloody communal clash," added another BJP veteran Gurdial Singh.
The 70-year-old Sikh from Ramnagar village was even asked to leave one of
the Hindu meets being addressed by Varun.
"He neither has respect for any other religion nor even for elders. In his
arrogance, he has gone to the extent of forgetting that his mother was also
a Sikh before her marriage," Gurudial said.
If the BJP is alarmed, other parties are determined to ensure that this
"We have audio-recordings of the provocative language used by Varun Gandhi
to run down Muslims," claimed a local Samajwadi Party leader, Haroon Ahmad.
"We have been restraining our people from retaliating because that will lead
to a clash, but how long can we stop people from reacting?" he asked.
Varun's Congress rival VM Singh said he was "going to make a detailed
complaint in this regard to the Election Commission".
"I have been gathering all the evidence against him so far but now I am
going to make a written complaint," Singh added.
"The highly objectionable slang used by Varun in his reference to Muslims
could just spark off a violent communal clash here."
[India is seen as a shining example of a secular state but in reality the
Indian state actually privileges Hinduism over other religions and religious
communities.--Omar Khalidi, "Why India Is Not A Secular State," Outlook India, January
[Global Muslim communities urgently need to condemn the agenda of political
Islam that distorts religious scriptures to legitimise violence. This
ideology of Islamism is threatening to replace a moderate and spiritual
Islam, leading to the destruction of many societies and, in particular,
oppression of women and minorities.--Sadia Dehlvi, "Build The Peace Consensus,"
Times of India, March 17, 2009]
["All the Hindus stay on this side and send the others to Pakistan." Raising
a palm, he said his hand was the "Lotus hand" - a reference to the symbol of
the BJP - and said that after the election "it will cut their
throats".--Andrew Buncombe, "Nehru heir under fire for 'anti-Muslim
rant'," Independent, March 18, 2009]
[India's main opposition party has said it will stand by a great-grandson of
the country's first prime minister in forthcoming elections, even after an
independent body found him guilty of hate crime and urged that he not be
fielded as a candidate.--Andrew Buncombe, "Nehru descendant guilty of Muslim hate
crime," Independent, March 24, 2009]
[The attacks are part of what many see as rising Hindu extremism in much of
the country over the past few years, . . .
The growing extremism has sparked a national debate - especially with
national elections this month - over what has become known by the Indian
media and analysts as the "Talibanization of India." It features a rise of
moral policing and an increasingly active constellation of Hindu right-wing
groups that believe in a politicized form of religion known as
Hindutva.--Emily Wax, "A Rising Anger in India's Streets: Hindu
Extremists Lash Out Against Symbols of Change," Washington Post, May
[At the heart of the soul-searching is how the party responded to an
anti-Muslim speech by a young member, Varun Gandhi, during the campaign.
Gandhi, an estranged member of the dynasty that has dominated the Congress
party, is alleged to have said in a campaign speech that he would cut off
the hands of any Muslim who harmed a Hindu.
That landed Gandhi in prison for a few weeks, but the BJP stood solidly
behind him even after India's Election Commission reprimanded him. . . .
Some party members have questioned the number of campaign meetings addressed
by one of its controversial leaders, Narendra Modi, who is accused of
abetting sectarian violence that left more than 1,000 Muslims dead in the
western state of Gujarat in 2002.--Rama Lakshmi, "India's Hindu Party Reflects on Election
Drubbing," Washington Post, May 18, 2009]
[The greatest failure of Indian foreign policy has been an inability to
understand how Britain, a small country of 60 million, was able to control
600 million Indians and colonise India for 200 years. Or for that matter,
how Portugal with a populace of 3 million was able to colonise part of
China, the most populous nation in the world, by annexing Macao. It was the
age old policy of divide and rule. The sub-continent is a multifaceted
society with boundaries of religion, caste, class, language, and much as we
are divided, we are united by a common inheritance. This is what needs to be
emphasised.--J Jayasundera, "A
case for Asian unity -- Lesson from Sri Lanka,"
futurefastforward.com, January 13, 2010]